Saturday, November 28, 2015
After years of searching for this Guayaki flavor, I finally got a can. My good friends at Pacific Bottleworks hooked me up with it and I want to thank them very much.
True to its label, this mate has a strong mixed berry aroma with notes of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and maybe even a little bit of cranberries? There is also an earthen, musky undertone that tells you that what you are about to drink contains tea.
The taste is different, though. The yerba mate is predominant at the start while the berries are there to compliment the main character, jumping out here and there. Some tartness quickly builds up halfway through each sip and the berries take over for a brief moment right before the finish. The finish is dry and mostly earthy with some lingering berry notes.
If you don't like earthy tones or yerba mate, this may not be for you. I liked it, though. I am a fan of yerba mate and do have a gourd at home that I use from time to time.
Like all the other Guayaki drinks, this can contains 150 mg of naturally occurring caffeine. The effects jitter-free and semi-quick. I felt pepped up, yet focused within 10-15 minutes for about 20 minutes. Then I was still somewhat focused, but also had enough energy to run around if I wanted to.
The effects last for a few hours and there is no crash at the end. This is another great Guayaki product. Love these guys and I am very happy that they are a little more easy to find now in Toronto.
Cost - unsure, but I would guess between $3 and $4
Taste - 9/10
Energy - 8.4/10
Overall - 17.4/20...earthy with hints of berries and a very nice kick
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Guayaki's Yerba Mate Classic Gold is an energy drink I have been after for years. I have seen and tried all the flavored ones (Mint, Lemon, Berry), but for some reason none of the stores around me sold the Classic Gold...until now. I found a can of this at Essence of Life in Kensington Market for the very reasonable price of $2.29.
Sweet cola and lemon aromas permeate through the narrow can opening that I cannot resist. The flavor is moderately citrusy at first with notes of cola, which intensify within moments. Earthy yerba mate notes come in after the cola and dominate the palate well into the finish. Some ginger also appears in the aftertaste and gives the sides of your mouth a tingle.
The sweetness is well balanced, the flavors follow one another and though the yerba mate character is present, there are other flavors that offer a nice balance and make this drink appealing to a wider audience.
There are 120 mg of caffeine in the can. The effects can be felt within 5-10 minutes with the start of a slow and gentle focus period. I felt starting to feel awake and within another 5 minutes I was awake and very focused without any jitters or negative side effects.
The energy boost lasted for about 2-3 hours and it never felt too much like other sugary energy drinks. The end was without negative side effects like a crash. Great kick.
Cost - $2.29
Taste - 9/10
Energy - 7/10
Overall - 16/20...great balance of flavors, very focused kick without the jitters
Monday, November 16, 2015
When I was in Michigan a few weeks ago, I got my hands on a few of Ocean Spray's new Cranberry Extract Waters from a Target near one of the airports...can't remember which one. The odd name comes from the word proanthocyanidins, or PACs for short, which are a class of polyphenols found in cranberries, the main ingredient of the PACt waters...get it? Supposedly these waters are supposed to help cleanse and purify your body better than water alone. But all I want to know is - how do these taste?
Cranberry Mango Passion Fruit
The mango here is predominant in the aroma and in the taste. Right after the initial mango hit, you get a medium-rich cranberry flavor that fills the middle and end of each sip. The cranberry portion is just a touch tart near the end to give you a clean finish. The passion fruit is very subtle and I didn't get very much of it until near the finish.
Taste - 8.2/10
The pomegranate dominates the aroma and the finish of this flavor. The cranberry base is dominant at the start of each sip but quickly gives way to the tart pomegranate notes. Very interestingly balanced taste. Both flavors are tart, giving this beverage a rather dry finish.
Taste - 7.8/10
This one has a very nice sweet raspberry-heavy aroma with a good amount of cranberries. The taste is very similar with sweet, ripe raspberries upfront, followed by a moderately tart cranberry notes. The aftertaste has a medium sweetness and carries a raspberry-heavy tone.
Taste - 8.5/10
Unlike other flavored waters, all of these flavors were very intense and I would be more inclined to call them soft drinks...or whatever, but not waters.
The one disappointing thing about this water is the heavy sweetener presence in the aftertaste. Yes, these are waters and yes they are flavored, so in order to get some intensity, depth and flavor profile something needs to be added in addition to the natural flavors. I get it, but the sweeteners took the experience down a few notches for me.
Thursday, November 5, 2015
And my review of the new AMP flavors comes to an end with the Blueberry White Grape concoction. At the time of this review, these new flavors are only available in the US.
This AMP flavor has a very cool pale blue color that looks like a blue Gatorade Rain. It oozes of sweet blueberry notes while the white grape only makes a brief appearance on the nose. The blueberry also dominates the flavor profile from start to finish. The white grape flavor is very subtle at first and completely overpowered by the sweet blueberries. But after a few sips, a middle profile starts to build up that is mostly comprised of semi-sweet white grape notes. After a quarter of the can the flavor changes to blueberry at the start, white grape in the middle and a medley of blueberry and white grape notes at the finish. The aftertaste is predominantly blueberries at first, but some subtle white grape hints are also present.
There are 157 mg of caffeine in the can and the effects are rather quick. I was greeted by a wave of jitters within 5-10 minutes of consuming a third of the can, which is a bit odd since there are no sugar in this drink. Unfortunately took another 10 minutes or so for my brain to catch up, wake up and start focusing on the tasks at hand. A short time thereafter, the caffeine kicked in and I was very energetic. The effects lasted for several hours and I did not experience a crash at the end. Pretty good stuff.
Cost - 2 for $3
Taste - 8.5/10
Energy - 8.1/10
Overall - 16.6/20...mostly blueberry flavors, energy is good
Wednesday, November 4, 2015
This Tribute C.Y.P.-X is not the same as the green Tribute I tried and reviewed a couple of years ago. This is a brand new flavor that just came out and I just happened to the in the US to pick up a can.
The drink is orange...a little lighter orange than the light orange on the can. Even though, I had no idea what to expect in terms of flavor, I was a bit surprised when a whiff of sweet orange creamsicle escaped the can and reached my nose. The taste? Yeah - sweet orange creamsicle all throughout. Except for the slightly more potent vanilla start, the taste is very uniform from the moment the liquid hits your tongue to the moment it goes down the throat.
Did I mention it was sweet? Oh yeah. Be prepared to reach for a glass of water at the end of the can.
Let's see....160 mg of caffeine and 52 grams of sugar to get you going real quick. I got jittery within minutes and my legs were shaking for good 20-30 minutes before all the caffeine kicked in and I felt like running around in circles to burn off the excess energy. The end came with a minor crash, but nothing serious.
Cost - $1.09
Taste - 7.8/10
Energy - 8.2/10
Overall - 16/20...great orange creamsicle taste despite the high level of sweetness
Friday, October 30, 2015
Seems like outdoor companies are jumping on the energy bandwagon. First Realtree, now Mossy Oak. Like Realtree, Mossy Oak's energy drinks come in several flavors, but unfortunately I only had enough room in my hands for one...so I opted for the Original flavor. I got mine from a 7-11 in Michigan.
Aaaah, Original...or as most people call it - Red Bull. Yup, this is a Red Bull clone. Though the base flavor is shared, Mossy Oak's Original has more of a sour bite than a regular Red Bull, which very effectively kills most of the sweetness at first. Give it a few long gulps and the sweetness will start building up at the back of the throat. Best way to get rid of it is to have a glass of cold water after you are done with the drink.
I personally like the taste of Red Bull and am a sucker for sour clones...despite the sugary finish.
There are 160 mg of caffeine in the can. Surprised? Well, you shouldn't be.
The effects are very similar to all other sugary Red Bull clones - burst of jittery energy within minutes of consumption, followed by a rush of caffeine energy that lasts a few hours and makes you want to run around in circles.
The energy ended with a bit of a crash for me, but that's because I had this beverage in the late afternoon after being pretty tired for most of the day.
Cost - $2.99 from 7-11
Taste - 7.8/10
Energy - 8.1/10
Overall - 15.9/20...sour and sweet Red Bull clone
Friday, October 23, 2015
OK, I admit, this is an odd one, but I can't just walk past it and not try it. Sparkling Yunker (amazing translation by the way) is an energy drink packed with a bunch of herbs, Q10 and some other vitamins. I bought it from an Asian grocery store in Toronto for $1 a month or so ago. The lack of any flavor information on the can really peaked my interest so I just had to try it.
The drink has a very pale and cloudy yellow/beige color that reminds me a lot of watered down lemonade. It smells like a blend of herbs, flowers, lemon and some other mysterious scents. The flavor is very sour with traces of lemon. There is a mild blend of ginseng and guarana overtone that gives the flavor a slightly bitter and earthy feel. The finish is dry and semi-clean with traces of ginseng and lemon giving it both sour and bitter characteristics.
The flavor is very unique to someone who doesn't have as much exposure to the Asian beverage market. I found the drink refreshing but had a hard time finishing it because of the sour and herbal character.
There are 30 mg of caffeine in this 190 mL container, which is low, but there are other ingredients that give you a boost. I got pepped up within minutes of consuming the can. There were no jitters but I felt very energized with the kind of energy that makes you want to run around.
The boost was quick and intense, but didn't last as long as other drinks packing the caffeine punch. The effects were certainly unique, but what I would do is consume this drink first, then wait for 40 mins for the effects to start winding down and follow up with a coffee.
Cost - $1
Taste - 6/10
Energy - 5.5/10
Overall - 11.5/20...unique sour/bitter/herbal flavor with an intense, but short-lived boost